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PRE-HISTORY

Evolution of Man on the Earth.

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06 May '24
6 min read


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Everyday you see birds, animals, reptiles, insects and the like.  These are some of the various forms of life on the earth.  How did 'life' come into being?.  The story of the emergence of life is a very interesting account indeed.  When you try to think about this, another important question arises.  It is "How did the Planet Earth originate?"  Let us first understand this before we understand how life came into existence on our planet.


    Thousands and thousands of years ago, a very tiny bit flew away from the blazing 'Sun'.  This bit of blaze slowly solidified and formed into the earth.  It took thousands of years for this formation to take place.  Volcanoes erupted and earthquakes shook the earth.  The great seas in the womb of the earth erupted and slowly cooled down forming peaks like Mount Everest.  Gradually atmosphere was formed.


    After the Planet Earth was thus formed, life came to manifest.  At the beginning, life perhaps appeared in a form resembling the insects and the worms.  Later a disitnct form of life called 'Flagellata' evolved.  Scientists have confirmed that this flagellata gave rise to two distinct forms of life known as the Animal Kingdom and the Plant Kingdom.


    The next step was the evolution of the nervous system and brain.  This led to the evolution of vertebrates.  The fish and other creatures like the fish are examples of vertebrates.  At one stage of the evolution, a fearful form called 'Dionoyrasus' appeared but in course of time it disappeared.  Very active and brainy life in the form of Mammals (Milch animals) entered the scene next.  It is after this that the age of Man started.  All this might have taken place some twenty lakhs of years ago.


    Thus the appearance of various forms of life has been the result of biological evolution spread over thousands of years.  Geographical factors have also aided this evolution of life.  A type of primitive man called 'Primate' evolved some twenty lakhs of years ago.  It is now confirmed that Man, the Chimpanzee, the Gorilla and the Monkey had a common ancestor in the 'tree ape'.  Darwin's theory of Man evolving form 'Monkey' has been the basis for this kind of scientific analysis.


    The earliest man was short in stature.  He was shivering without any clothes on and without any protection from Nature.  He lived on tree-tops.  From this 'Primate' species a distinct species of Man with Brain came into being.  This species left the tree tops and began to walk on the earth.  'Homosapien' is the name given to this earliest human form.  The Homosapien must have evolved some thirty or forty thousands of years ago.  These Homosapiens are our ancestors.


    The Stone Age : -


    The Homosapien always tried to make his life comfortable and happy.  His efforts were successful and they were based on his experience.


    At the first man was not civilized.  It took him thousands of years to become civilized.  Gradually he gave up wandering and he entered the stage of a life of fixed home and settled living.  He earned his bread, had a house to live in and began to wear clothes.  That was really the dawn of civilization.  The stone age is the first stride in human civilization.  Historians say that the stone age extended over the period from B. C. 50000 to B. C. 5000.


    We can identify three phases in the stone age.  The first phase is the Palaeolithic Age (The Old Stone Age) when man was uncivilized leading the life of animals.  The third one is the Neolithic Age (The New Stone Age) when man took to agriculture as occupation with settled life.  The transition period between these two phases is the second one known as Mesolithic Age (The Middle Stone Age). 


The Palaeolithic Age : -


    In this age the life of man was not much different from that of an animal.  He was wandering from place to place in search of food without any permanent abode.  He was using stone tools for self protection and for earning bread.  His tools were crude and were not refined.  He was a hunter and a food gatherer.  He used hand axes, choppers and flake implements.  All these were made out of stone only.  These tools have been unearthed in Europe, Africa and Asia.  All of them are similar both in shape and in quality.


    In course of time, man had tools made of bone and ivory.  He used instruments to make his implements.  He lived in caves.  For clothing he used the hides of animals killed as prey.


    Power of thinking and reasoning gradually developed.  Bow, arrow and spear came into use.  As hunter he took to raw flesh.  He was also a food gatherer gathering leaves, fruits and roots.  A fixed home or settled life was new to him.


    After a few thousands of years he developed the art of painting, engraving and sculpture.  A few paintings and drawings belonging to this period were discovered in the caves of France, Spain and Italy.  Men were also familiar with the drawing of the human form.  They wore ornaments too.  Finally man become accustomed to settled life.


The Mesolithic Age : -  (Middle Stone Age)  : -


    As you have already read, this was a transition period between Palaeolithic and Neolithic Ages.  During this age man's power of thinking and skill in art rose to great heights.  His drawings did not represent whole shapes.  Still they conveyed the underlying ideas.  These drawings gave birth to script.


    Man learnt the use of fire and got firewood from the forest.  This led to changes in his food habits.  He began to cook meat and gave up eating raw flesh.  Animal fat was used in small plates as wax for lighting.  Such lamps are found in Southern France.


    People lived in small communities.  They had small houses.  Man became a social being.  This led to the forming of social customs and habits.


The Neolithic Age : -


    In this age man became a food producer.  He gave up food gathering.  He took to agriculture as an occupation.  He had the advantages of settled life.  He cultivated the lands and raised crops.  Animals were domesticated and in a way dairy farming was developed.


    The stone tools of this age were of a very refined type.  The sickle came into use.


    Houses were built in a rectangular shape.  Stones and sundried bricks were used in the construction of houses.


    The potter's wheel came into use.  In the progress of civilization this was indeed a big step forward.  Mat-weaving and basket-making were known to the people.  Their trade was through barter system.


    The dead were buried and the graved covered with heavy slabs.  People believed that the dead were always their protectors.


    By now you will have seen how man gradually become civilized in the stone age.

 

 

Category : History


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Written by Haridasu Ramesh Kumar

National Recordholder in Hindu Pushups.